Illustration of the profiles of a young woman and an older woman facting away from each other

The Joy Luck Club

by Amy Tan

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The Voice from the Wall Questions and Answers

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Study Questions
1. What is the death of a thousand cuts?

2. Why does Lena see danger everywhere?

3. Why doesn’t Lena look Chinese?

4. Who changes Ying-ying’s name to Betty?

5. Why is communication so difficult at the St. Clair household?

6. Where is the family’s new apartment?

7. Why does Ying-ying’s baby die?

8. How does Ying-ying react to the loss of her baby?

9. Why does Teresa come to the St. Clairs’ apartment?

10. Near the end of the story, why does Lena cry when she hears Teresa and her mother yelling at each other at night?

1. In the death of a thousand cuts, a man’s body is sliced away little by little until he dies.

2. Lena sees danger everywhere after she falls down the basement stairs, and Ying-ying makes up a story about an evil man who lives in the basement.

3. Lena’s father is English-Irish.

4. Lena’s father, Clifford St. Clair, changes her name to Betty.

5. Communication is difficult because Ying-ying speaks poor English, St. Clair speaks poor Chinese, and Lena understands what her mother says in Chinese but not what she means.

6. The family moves to an Italian neighborhood in San Francisco, North Beach.

7. The baby dies because of a severe birth defect.

8. Ying-ying becomes unable to function; she is very depressed.

9. Teresa wants to climb out Lena’s bedroom window onto the fire escape, so she can climb in her own bedroom window.

10. Lena is happy to be wrong about Teresa.

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